The Fourth of July is a wonderful occasion to get together with family and friends, enjoy their company and catch up on their news and activities–especially those you haven’t seen in a long time. While the joy of spending quality time with people you care about is obviously a good enough reason on its own to do so, having something in common to celebrate makes the shared hours even more meaningful and memorable. In this case, rather than all the attention being focused on the one person celebrating, like at a birthday or graduation party, the Fourth of July is, above all, a time to celebrate America.
Far too often, we can take the blessing of freedom for granted. But on July 4th, we are reminded not to dwell on individual or family misfortunes or imperfections, or whatever we perceive as being wrong in today’s world, but to look at the bigger picture and be proud to be an American.
What has all this to do with sensible eating and not letting the July 4th holiday derail you from your healthy weight loss program?
Everything, because a prime reason why major holiday gatherings so often lead to diet lapses is only going through the motions of what the celebratory gathering should really be about and turning the day or evening into a negative self-talk marathon. Mired in that kind of mindset, soon you will be coming up with every excuse in the book to keep reaching for the ultimate quick comfort remedy–food.
“I’m bored—there’s nothing else to do.”
“I’ve been denying myself all week. This food looks so good.”
“Everybody else is eating. This is a party and eating is what people do at parties.”
“Nothing is going right in my life. It’s time I give myself a little treat.”
“One more piece of cake (or whatever your guilty pleasure is) won’t hurt me. I’ll go back on my diet tomorrow.”
Sound familiar? Fortunately, the script doesn’t have to play out that way. You can have fun on July 4th and still eat moderately and sensibly, and avoid the guilt trip the next day. You can celebrate your independence from old, bad habits! Here are 10 foolproof suggestions for a fabulous, diet friendly Fourth of July!
1. Plan Ahead
If you are hosting a Fourth of July party, plan every detail ahead of time—the guest list and invitations, decorations, entertainment, music, decorations and, of course, the menu.
2. Use the Nutrition Factors Recipes
Nutrition Factors offers suggested menus for special occasions. You also have hundreds of tasty recipes at your fingertips. There is no time-consuming calculations trying to determine whether the meal plan fits into the appropriate calorie range for your diet. These are calorie controlled, portion-controlled recipes, all carefully designed to provide proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and other essential nutrients in a well-balanced ratio. All you have to do is buy the necessary ingredients, prepare the recipe, and enjoy!
3. Serve Mouthwatering Menus
To make planning your July 4th party even easier, we did the recipe searching for you. After poring through the massive database, we have come up with a perfect choice of dinner menus for July 4th. The menus are adaptable for eating either indoors or outdoors. Choose from six main dishes, three of which are vegetarian-friendly, three side dishes, and three desserts. Choose one dish in each category, to keep your meal under 600 calories. Based on a 1,500 calorie diet, this is reasonable for a festive holiday meal.
Since you also need the recipes, for the 12 Nutrition Factors recipes, simply use the link provided.
Main Dish: Choose One
Chicken and Apple Salad (216 calories)
Blueberry Chicken Salad Tacos (316 calories)
Blended Turkey Meatloaf (230 calories)
Pasta & Broccoli Salad (161 calories)
Tomatoes, Avocado, Cottage Cheese (173 calories)
Avocado and Egg Salad (229 calories)
Side Dish: Choose One
Low-Calorie Vegetable Salad Tray (53 calories)
Fresh and Delicious Garden Salad (78 calories)
Sweet and Sour Watermelon Cucumber Salad (78 calories)
Dessert: Choose One
Blueberry Yogurt Pops (150 calories)
Red, White, and Blueberry Watermelon Parfait (148 calories)
Florida Strawberry Dessert Cookie Pizza (140)
4. Watch Portion Sizes
Note the number of servings in each recipe. For larger parties, increase the ingredients amounts accordingly.
5. Stay Hydrated
In addition to having plenty of bottled water on hand, which is a must in hot weather, either lemonade or iced tea would be a perfect drink accompaniment to this meal. To save calories, or for diabetics, try a diet version. Otherwise, Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade (119 calories per serving) works beautifully with the July 4th theme and color scheme.
6. Hot Dogs Are Not the Best Choice
Although hot dogs a traditional go-to food on the Fourth of July, they are not the healthiest choice, as they are loaded with sodium and they also contain nitrates. If you insist on serving them, choose chicken or turkey franks, one to a person, and serve on whole wheat pita bread instead of the usual hot dog roll.
7. Allow Time for Exercise
Plan your day so you have to keep up with your daily exercises in addition to sticking to your Grid Diet. Hiking, swimming, rowing, bike riding, and volleyball are a few suggestions.
8. Play Games
Games are another great way to pass the time. Besides or in place of the usual card games and board games, consider an American history trivia game. Have a special prize for the player with the most correct answers. There are lots of suitable questions online. Each guest can contribute a few.
9. Avoid Excessive Diet Talk
It’s perfectly fine to tell your guests that you are watching your weight and that the food is low calorie, but don’t make your diet a focal point of conversation. There are plenty of other things to talk about. If someone else is planning a July 4th party and you’re a guest rather than the host, find out ahead of what is being served and offer to bring along additional food for the group that is diet friendly. But, again, don’t make an issue of it.
10. Be Flexible, Know Your Limitations, Avoid Stress, and Have Fun!
Plan ahead of time when you are going to do besides eat but be flexible based on guests’ preferences and time and weather constraints. Also, don’t take on more work than you can handle. Let your guests help you. The important thing is to relax, don’t stress yourself out. Everybody, including you, should have a good time.